December is a month for reflection. As families gather to argue and average streets become colourful wonderlands, we look forward to the future and back at the past. 2018 has been a stellar year for cinema, and December is another strong month with many treats hidden behind the cinematic advent calendar.
After storming up the US speciality box office, Sorry to Bother You (7th Dec) is finally being released in the UK. Boots Riley’s sci-fi satire follows Cassius (Lakeith Stanfield) as he flourishes in a telemarketing career after finding his white voice (David Cross). Deliberately hard to categorise, Sorry to Bother You is a lightening bolt of cinema.
From the emergence of future talent to the swan song of a legend, The Old Man & the Gun (7th Dec) sees Robert Redford in his final role as an ageing and charming bank robber. With the amazing Sissy Spacek, John David Washington and Danny Glover giving support, there are unquestionable delights in this 70s homage from director David Lowery. The Sundance Kid rides off into the sunset with glorious style.
Hoping to save the world is Aquaman (12th Dec), the first DC movie since the wobbly Justice League. Focusing on Jason Momoa’s aquatic superhero, the story pits the surface world against the seven seas in a goofy, charming old school adventure. Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman and Patrick Wilson are in the supporting cast helping James Wan seemingly deliver the impossible — a fun and colourful DC movie.
Another superhero saving the world is Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (12th Dec). The limelight is thrusted onto Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) as he finds himself meeting the OG Spider-Man Peter Parker (Jake Johnson), Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld), Spider-Man Noir (Nicholas Cage), Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn) and Spider-Ham (John Mulaney). It’s deliciously bonkers, and produced by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, you can guarantee it has heart and humour.
Mary Poppins Returns (21st Dec) is the amazing nanny getting the superhero title treatment. In what seems like perfect casting, Emily Blunt steps into Julie Andrews’ shoes as the nanny who floats down and helps out the now adult Banks children (Ben Whishaw and Emily Mortimer). They’re very big shoes to fill, and following up one of cinema’s most beloved classics is intimidating. Rob Marshall is at the helm and the theatricality he brought to the ‘Cell Block Tango’ will help Mary’s musical numbers fly. Lin-Manuel Miranda, Meryl Streep and Dick Van Dyke round out the cast. Let’s hope he doesn’t bring back his cockney accent.
Alfonso Caurón returns with Roma (14th Dec) on Netflix. One of the best films of the year, the Mexican maestro’s film follows a Mexican family during the early 1970s. A story close to the director’s heart, it’s a far cry from the heady delights of Gravity and the fantasy of Harry Potter, and might become Caurón’s opus. That is saying something.
Some genius is re-releasing Die Hard and Home Alone on the same day (5th Dec) and you can catch the best Christmas film ever made, It’s a Wonderful Life, on the 14th December.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone!